Seventy-eight million metric tons of plastic packaging are produced worldwide each year, and of this, only 14% is recycled.
Glass containers were used in Southeast Asia as long ago as 100 BCE. In America, settlers in Jamestown built a glass melting furnace in the early 1600s. Glass as a container for foods and beverages is ideal even in the 21st century, when countless other container options are available.
Sustainability is a concept that brands in just about every industry are paying attention to these days. Consumers are more concerned about sustainability of both products and packaging, and the brands that address these concerns stand to strengthen their relationships with consumers.
While 3D printing may not have been in the news in 2017 as much as it was in prior years, that does not mean that the technology has stalled.
No one disputes the importance of great packaging design, but what specifically about packaging designs make products stand out from competitors? Does packaging design matter in the same ways depending on whether products are located on the store shelf or on an e-commerce website?
E-commerce has changed everything, including how products are packaged. Some brands have leaped in and redesigned packaging specifically for the world of e-commerce, but many have simply stuck with packaging designs they have always used – designs which may have been created to fit rigid retail shelf specifications.
Food consumption is done differently than it was a generation or two ago. Flexible and non-traditional work schedules and difficulty getting multiple family members’ schedules in sync mean that the family meal together is more the exception than the rule.
Although aspects of the human sensory system are assigned to different categories (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch), it is rare to experience one form of sensory input to the exclusion of the others. The use of multiple senses is how humans learn to navigate the world from early childhood, and it does not go away just because we become educated and use rational thinking more frequently.
Balancing product protection with packaging sustainability requires different techniques with different retail channels. For brand owners, this increasingly means packaging products for a specific sales channel, whether that is retail or e-commerce. Sustainability requires different approaches for different sales channels, which means the entire packaging paradigm is shifting.
It is fortunate that supply chains are becoming shorter and technology is making advances in consumer packaging
Flexible packaging is appearing on store shelves for an increasing number and variety of favorite consumer packaged goods. Everything from pet food to baking ingredients to cosmetics can be found in flexible packaging, and more consumer products are shifting to it because of both consumer and producer preferences.
Consumers like that flexible packaging keeps their (and their furry friends’) food fresh with minimal effort.
The information age has given consumers more detailed information than ever about what goes into the products they buy. Brand positioning in today’s marketplace cannot rely on providing only the information required on a package design and trusting customer loyalty to sustain strong brand relationships.
Nobody likes wasting food, but in some cases, it is all but unavoidable. Food waste is any raw or cooked food, whether solid or liquid, which is discarded, or intended or required to be discarded. It is generated throughout the processing chain, from harvest through processing, handling, storage, transport, cooking, and serving.
People may say, “It’s what’s inside that counts” to explain away a clumsily wrapped present, but anyone involved in packaging design knows what a profound effect packaging has on a person’s entire attitude toward what’s inside. The same silver necklace comes across completely differently when presented in a plastic bag versus when it’s presented in a classic “Tiffany Blue” box with a white ribbon.
Good packaging design requires an understanding of human psychology. Since that is true, those tasked with designing food and beverage packaging must take care to use what they know about human psychology in an effective way while maintaining ethical standards.
The FDA finalized major revisions to the nutrition label for food and beverages in May, 2016. The announcement, given by Michelle Obama, was received with varying levels of enthusiasm. While federal health officials rejoiced, the food and beverage industry was a bit less enthusiastic, likely due to the significant task that now lies before it.